April 23, 2018
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Four generations of World War II general coming to Bangor

Roxanne Moore Saucier
By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

While some military families spend most of a career in one place, many, of course, do not.

The family of Lunsford E. Oliver, who commanded the 5th Armored Division in Europe during World War II, had roots in several places by the time of the 1930 Census. The five people were enumerated at Camp Humphreys Military Reservation in Mount Vernon, Va.

Lunsford, 41, was listed as an officer. He had been born in Nebraska to a father born in Missouri, and a mother born in Ohio.

His wife, Jeanette P. (actually Janet P.), 31, was born in Minnesota to a father from Ohio and a mother from Illinois.

Son Thomas K. Oliver, 7, who would go on to attend West Point was born in Missouri. Daughter Mary P., 5, was born in Alaska. Mother-in-law Jane W. Putnam, 67, was born in Illinois. That’s what I call a family that got around.

At the same time that Gen. Lunsford Oliver was commanding 12,000 personnel in liberating Luxembourg, in the 1940s, 1st Lt. Tom Oliver was MIA for 3 months in Yugoslavia with at least 150 other airmen who had been shot down. Eager to get a message to the Allies to come get them, Tom Oliver came up with an ingenious code that would allow him to communicate with the Allies. It worked.

The 5th Armored Division always enjoys having the Tom Oliver Family come to the 5th Armored Reunion.

The nine members of the Oliver family planning to attend the reunion include Dr. Tom Oliver, son; Dr. Don Oliver, grandson; Robert Oliver, grandson; Gabriel Oliver and Thomas Oliver, great-grandsons; and Benjamin Jacobs, great-great-grandson.

From Maine, Harland Dunham of Ellsworth, member of the Fifth Armored Division, is expected to attend the 6 p.m. reunion Saturday, June 16, at Bangor Auditorium, with six of his family members.

The public is welcome to this final banquet. Tickets for haddock, chicken or vegetarian entree are available for $15 at Bangor Auditorium.

Veterans who bring their walking stick will have their name entered in a drawing for a 55-inch TV.

Come along and meet the WWII and other veterans at this event. Several, including Dr. Oliver, also will attend a free day of activities 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 16, at Cole Land Transportation Museum, 405 Perry Road.

The Texas Flying Legends will give a free air show 2-2:45 p.m. Sunday, June 17, at Airport Maintenance, 100 Maine Ave., Bangor. The planes will land at 11 a.m. and be on display.


The Leavitt Reunion deadline has come and gone, but Roland Rhodes assures us that there is still plenty of room to register. If you are a member, details have been in the past couple issues of Leavitt Leaves, and the May issue should be arriving soon.

The cost of the entire reunion is $20 per person, including food. The date is June 23. Use the reunion registration form in the newsletter or on the website. If you use the website form, be sure to print out to mail with your check before clicking “Send.” Organizers really need to know by June 16 so they can tell the caterers how much food for Saturday. If you’re not much for forms, the organizers say they’re not sticklers. Just write the pertinent information from the form on a paper and tell them which activities or places you want to visit. Come talk with cousins and join the tour of town Saturday afternoon.

Friday evening there will be a community dinner potluck in Barnard. If you’re coming from a distance and can’t bring anything, just bring yourself and let organizers know so there’s plenty of food.

Want any Leavitt Genealogies? Save shipping and buy at the Reunion, but pre-order now to make sure they are available.

There will be a 50-50 raffle and silent auction again. If you’d like to fill out an auction form before you get there, here’s one to printout: http://RolandRhoades.com/NALFAuction.pdf

A list of lineages, alphabetical by ancestor line, is available at http://RolandRhoades.com/NALFLineages.pdf.

Roland Rhoades will be at the free Taconnett Falls Genealogy Fair in Winslow 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, June 16, with Leavitt brochures and Maine Genealogical Society vital records and 1790 census books for sale. A list of the books and specials is at http://RolandRhoades.com/MGSBooks.pdf.


The Brewer Historical Society will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, in the meeting room at First Methodist Church, 40 South Main Street, Brewer. Judith Gillis, president of the Orrington Historical Society, will give a program on the Curran Homestead Living History Farm and Museum. Refreshments will be served.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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